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PHYSICIAN REFERRAL ARRANGEMENTS OPPOSED

 WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- With limited exceptions, physicians should not be allowed to refer patients to facilities with which they have a financial relationship, Fredric Entin of the American Hospital Association, told a House subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee here today.
 Entin, AHA senior vice president and general counsel, expressed AHA's support for H.R. 345, a bill that would limit physician self- referrals, noting the "Comprehensive Physician Ownership and Referral Act of 1993" presents Congress with an opportunity to address abusive patient referral practices and provide flexibility for health care providers to organize more efficiently.
 The AHA is calling for minor modifications in the bill to help facilitate national health care reform. Entin said an absolute ban on all financial relationships involving referrals would conflict with other important public policy goals. "The law needs to be flexible enough to permit hospitals to develop referral relationships if the objective is integration and coordination of care."
 The AHA is calling for care in a reformed system to be delivered by community care networks linking hospitals, doctors and other providers who would provide services to enrolled patients for a set fee per year. Networks would remove incentives to duplicate services or deliver unnecessary care because providers in the network would share a financial risk.
 Entin testified that the law should make exceptions in situations where essential health services would not otherwise be available to a community. The law now provides some protection for rural health care providers. The AHA would like to see this extended to other health care providers in medically underserved areas, such as inner cities.
 Another modification called for in Entin's testimony includes clarification of the compensation arrangement provision, allowing formation of network relationships.
 The AHA, a not-for-profit organization, serves as a national advocate for hospitals and the hospitals and the patients they serve, provides education and information for its members and informs the public about hospitals and health care issues.
 -0- 4/20/93
 /CONTACT: Donna Gaidamak of the American Hospital Association, 312-280-6129/


CO: American Hospital Association ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: LEG

TW-DC -- DC013 -- 7969 04/20/93 10:59 EDT
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Date:Apr 20, 1993
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